From Mokwugwo Solomon, Awka
Market leaders, especially chairmen in Anambra State, weekend gave all those masquerading as petition writers, including the one under the aegis of Anambra Elite Traders’ Forum, against the Commissioner for Commmerce and Industry, Hon. Obinna Ngonadi, two weeks ultimatum to desist from their nefarious activities in their own interest or face the wrath of traders in the state.
Sounding the note of warning, the chairman of Nkpor New Auto Spareparts market, Chief Elysius Ozokwere, expressed surprise that the commissioner was accused of disobedience to court order in the market, adding that the commissioner has not been appointed as at the time the opposition in the market took the incumbent leadership to court.
“They took us to Ogidi High Court, accusing us of construction of shops on top of existing shops, and we defeated them, and court also awarded N1 million cost against them, because we have the mandate of the state government to do the project.
“They now headed to Appeal Court and want to dent the image of the commissioner by accusing him of taking N80 million gratification for the construction of the shops.
“These people who are petitioning to Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, against the commissioner don’t have identity. They are traders, who lost election and some have no shops in the market. Power is not shared, it is given by God. If you lost election, wait for another time,” he advised.
Also, in their various contributions, vice chairman, Mr. Ikechukwu Jude Onyegbu; financial secretary, Alexander C. Orji, and the secretary, Hon.Uche Malobi; reiterated that the commissioner was innocent of the accusation levelled against him; adding that the petitioners are bunch of holligans, who have no good reputation in the market. He urged the governor to disregard their petition.
Reacting, chairman of Electronics Dealers International Market, Onitsha, Hon. Ifeanyi Egwuenu, accused a sacked secretary of the market of collaborating with other enemies of the state government to cause crises in Anambra markets.
“The sacked secretary embezzled money paid by MTN for installation of its mask in the market, and that was why the former chairman sacked him. Since then, he started fighting the market leadership.
“He does not have wares to sell in the make; but instigates people to forment trouble in the market as means for him to get to leadership position.
“My executive members and I didn’t pay any money to the commissioner for the purpose of having this leadership positions. It was the elders of the market that came to me and asked me to take up the position. The sacked secretary, who has been in office for 12 years as secretary, with those who overstayed in office, that were removed by the state government, vowed to continue to fight the commissioner for not allowing them to continue in their selfish leadership of the markets in the state,” he hinted.
Speaking, a film producer in the market, Chief Anthony Okechukwu Nwafu, commended the commissioner for picking the likes of the chairman of the Electronics Market as market chairmen, adding that Egwuenu had, within his short stay, rebuilt the fallen fences of the market that cost about a million naira, with his personal money.
“So, the commissioner will be having enemies for doing good things to sanitize the markets,” he stated.
Also in his contribution, the chairman of Atani Iron Dealers Association, Chief Evaristus Ejezie, said that he did not pay a dime to be appointed as chairman of the market by the commissioner.
“When people were congratulating me, and calling me new chairman, I was surprised. The chairman finished his eight years of two tenures, and I was his vice. So, I felt maybe, because I was his vice that was why the commissioner made me the chairman. So, anybody that accuses the commissioner of collecting money for giving market leadership posts, is an enemy of the state government, and should be seen as devil”, he posited.
Reacting, the chairman of Ogbaru Main Market, Chief Ogbogu Nwanodi, expressed surprise that the petitioners accused the commissioner of taking bribe from traders before giving them appointments.
“I was called to the commissioner’s office and offered the chairman position of my market without knowing the commissioner or offering him gratification. So, the petitioners just wanted to tarnish his image,” he said.
Speaking, the chairman of Ogbo Abada, Basil Ozor, said he was given appointment as chairman on a platter of gold; adding that he did not spend a money to get the job from the commissioner.
Recall that the Anambra Elite Traders’ Forum (AETF), in their petition, signed by Chief Chikeluba Odiche, and Mr. Michael Nwangwu, tagged: “Re-Sale of Market Leadership Offices”, and other Atrocities Being Perpetrated by Dr. Obinna Ngonadi,” accused the commissioner of selling market leadership in Anambra markets to the highest bidder.